Electric Vehicles Gain Traction With Approval of Pacific Power Pilot Projects

March 06, 2018

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PORTLAND, Ore. — A growing consumer interest in using electric vehicles, which may mean more than 50,000 electric vehicles on Oregon roadways by 2020, is part of what's driving Pacific Power on an innovative path to offer customers across the state more choice about electric vehicles.

The recent approval of three pilot projects by the Public Utility Commission of Oregon marks another milestone in moving towards cleaner energy options set in motion by the landmark 2016 Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act.

The pilot projects are part of a series of larger efforts by Pacific Power to prepare the energy grid for the 21st century. The company's Energy Vision 2020 plan will add over 1,300 megawatts of new wind generation, upgrade existing wind generation, and provide new transmission to support that generation. The $3.5 billion plan will both significantly expand Pacific Power's clean energy portfolio and provide a net savings to customers over its life by taking advantage of tax savings. The company is also in the middle of rolling out new smart meters across Oregon. These new meters offer significant benefits to customers like shorter outage response time, while also reducing overall costs to customers over their life.

"We are making the grid more efficient, cleaner, and more reliable," said Stefan Bird, Pacific Power president and CEO. "We are bringing even more renewable resources online in a smarter, more resilient grid that will reduce emissions from our power supply while keeping costs low. And, we are helping clean the air in a new way by fostering a new age of transportation less dependent on fossil fuels."

Transportation emissions are a key area of focus for the Oregon Global Warming Commission which reported in its 2017 report to the legislature that the transportation sector was the highest contributor to Oregon's greenhouse gas emissions.

Specifically, Pacific Power's pilot projects will:

Put customers behind the wheel. By providing information and services and sponsoring ride-and-drive events where consumers can get first-hand experience with electric vehicles and chargers to make informed decisions about what is right for them.

Invest in Innovation. Pacific Power will provide grant funding to help non-residential Pacific Power customers develop creative, community-driven electric transportation infrastructure projects. Pacific Power will grant $1.5 million for projects that advance transportation electrification in areas such as workplace charging.

Power to the People. Pacific Power will install, own, and operate a limited number of publicly accessible charging stations in its Oregon service area. Many rural communities have no public fast charging infrastructure making it difficult for electric vehicle owners to traverse the state. Under this pilot, the company may construct and own up to seven charging sites, with each site featuring dual-standard DC fast chargers, and at least one Level 2 charging port.

"Electric vehicles can be a great choice for many customers. They can be lower cost to own and operate, and better for the environment too," said Bird. "We all want a cleaner energy future, and these pilot projects offer a way for customers to explore if these vehicles are right for them."  

To learn more about the benefits of electric vehicles, visit pacificpower.net/ev.